VIA USA RUGBY and RWC
• RWC Sevens to provide springboard to the Olympic Games
• Event fully integrated into multi-sport Games cycle
• Keenly contested tender process anticipated
• RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow on track to thrill
The International Rugby Board today announced that, following consultation with Member Unions and major stakeholders, the popular Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament will be retained and integrated into the Olympic Games cycle.
The decision to integrate the event within the middle of the Olympic cycle will provide a key high performance pathway for teams around the world, ensuring optimum competitiveness at the Olympic Games. With 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams competing at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, RWC Sevens 2013 currently includes 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams, thus providing vital world-class competition for a greater number of players.
RWC Sevens also provides opportunities to more cities to host a major international Rugby event, showcasing the Game to a global audience and driving interest and participation. In order for the quadrennial tournament to be integrated into the Olympic cycle in the most effective manner, the next event following RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow will take place in 2018. This will ensure an Olympic Games or RWC Sevens will take place every two years and allow RWC Sevens to be used as a key springboard for our Unions towards the Games.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “RWC Sevens provides an opportunity for a large number of nations to compete at a high level. Like all Olympic sports, we believe that a world championship event will increase competitiveness, interest and participation, slotting into the multi-sport Games cycle and enhancing Rugby Sevens in the Olympic Games and the sport as a whole.” “Moscow 2013 is a reflection of the truly global reach of our sport and the event is on track to be a wonderful success. With unprecedented interest in hosting Rugby Sevens events, spurred on by inclusion in the Olympic Games, I am sure we can anticipate a keenly contested tender process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.”
From June 28-30, the 2013 edition of the record-breaking event takes place at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which will see the finest Rugby Sevens players on the planet showcase their skills ahead of the Rio Olympic Games in three years’ time.
These are exciting times for Rugby Sevens, which has been a catalyst for Rugby's growth into new territories since the IOC decision in 2009 and a spearhead for the sport become a truly global sport. The 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series enjoyed yet another record year, while the debut IRB Women's Sevens World Series captured the imagination, giving the best women's Sevens players a a highly-competitive, structured and global platform to showcase their talent.
Details of the tender process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 will be announced in due course after the Moscow event.
In response to the International Rugby Board’s announcement that the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament will be retained and integrated into the Olympic Games cycle, USA Rugby confirmed its intentions to bid for the right to host the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The USA Rugby Board has appointed Board Director, international businessman and sports enthusiast Will Chang as Chairman of their bid. Chang will visit Moscow later this month to study the Russian capital’s hosting of the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to head the bid committee and potentially bring the Rugby World Cup Sevens to America,” Chang said. “Hosting this tournament will support our goals of developing the Game and further its popularity in the United States. We are looking forward to hearing more about the bid process and will do everything we can to ensure the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place on United States soil.”
USA Rugby hopes to capitalize on the IRB’s goals of showcasing the Game to a global audience and drive interest and participation in key rugby development markets like the United States.
“Rugby is now one of the fastest growing sports in America,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “We want to continue our growth, showcase the new Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens and take the sport to unprecedented levels in the USA.”
USA Rugby will release more information in due course as the bid process is confirmed.